Do I need vaccination?
Yes, you do. There is one obligatory vaccination you need to have to get the visa and it is the Yellow Fever. There are of course many more you can choose from (Hepatitis, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies etc), but it depends on you and your consideration of risk and length of your stay.
There is no malaria vaccination. You can get antimalaric pills for few weeks, but even those do not ensure you will not be infected. So make sure you use the Mosquito net.
Do I need visa?
Yes, you need the visa to enter the country from almost all countries. It can be purchased online through the Directorate of Citizenship and immigration. You´ll need to add a passport copy, recent passport photography and Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. The visa costs $50. In case you want to use other portals, make sure the price is the same.
Visa on arrival
You still can get the visa on arrival, but in the future it is expected to be replaced by online visa.
Eastern African Community single tourist visa
In case you are planning to visit neighborhood countries in Eastern Africa, it is worth to apply for the Eastern African Community single tourist visa. It is valid for Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda with multiple entry, the price is $100 and is valid for 90 days.
Uganda can be considered as a safe country. You feel safe and you can travel by yourself with no problem. But it is better to avoid travelling outside the main roads at night. If your plan is to visit Karamoja, it is better to get the local guide or organize the trip with some agency.
In general, use your common sense, do not risk if it´s not necessary, do not leave your belongings in hotels and you should be totally fine and fully enjoy the beauty of Uganda.
The best way is to come with Dollars and exchange with current exchange rate (check it before exchanging! Ugandans are very creative in cheating) in any bank of office in Entebbe, Kampala or bigger town.
The taxi from the airport can be paid on dollars and Euros and Pounds are accepted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for most activities. Entry fees to national parks can also be paid in dollars. In case you get in trouble on the way with no cash of Ugandan shillings, you can get to Indian supermarket and ask the owner to exchange some dollars.
But rather make sure you always have some shillings with you. Anything can happen on the road and if local people help you to solve the problem (flat tire etc), it is polite to appreciate their help with some LITTLE amount of money.
How is the weather? When is the best time to travel to Uganda?
Ugandan weather is very nice and friendly during the whole year, so you can come anytime with no worries. But for the dusty roads and animals in National Parks it is better to come in dry season. After the rain season the grass is higher and it is tricky to see cats and some smaller animals. Also dusty roads are challenging to be driven after the rain. T
he dry season is from June to August. The most challenging months for above mentioned reasons are March, April and May.
Traffic and petrol stations
Talking about safety, I think roads are the most dangerous. Ugandan driving is very specific and for visitors it seems to have no rules. You must be careful especially about matatu and coaches drivers. They are very, very fast and most of the time with no respect to others.
Also make sure you always have enough fuel for the long journey including the game drive activities in national parks. Distances are surprisingly long, you can get lost and in rural areas there are no gas stations, or only local style with few bottles of fuel.
There are few good roads connecting the main destination – (Kampala-Entebbe, Kampala – Kenya border, Kampala – Rwanda border, Kampala – Murchison NP). There are only dusty roads in national parks, rural areas, the whole north of Uganda (except direction to Sudan border) and
Karamoja. If you really do not want to underestimate anything, contact UWA Headquarters to obtain up-to-date advice about the road conditions and identify the preferred route when visiting Uganda.
Food and Drinks
Let´s start with drinks – there is no drinking water in tap in Uganda. The only water you can drink is the one you can buy in bottle and even this, in rural areas, can be refilled with non drinking water, closed and sold again. So be careful. If you have a chance to boil it before drinking, it is better to do it or if you are not sure, choose any other alternative as coke or other soft drinks.
It is the same with food, especially meat and fresh vegetable. Vegetable you can´t peel is better to wash with hot water. I would not risk eating meat on the stick sold on the road or in rural areas. If you want to enjoy your steak in Kampala, ask for well done.
What you can safely enjoy are many kinds of fruit, bananas or rice, beans and potatoes, what is really good is chapatti or rolex (“roll – eggs” which is chapatti with egg omelet).
What about language in Uganda?
Official language is English. But there are more than 35 tribes and local languages. In Ugandan educational system children study primary schools in their local language, from secondary school the teaching language is English. But it is not rare, especially on the north of Uganda or village schools, that teachers themselves are not very fluent in English. Also there is no compulsory school attendance as schools are paid and families cannot afford it. So it is very common to find person with no (English) knowledge.
Ugandan way of communication in English is specific and in some situations very funny. It would give enough materials for one separate article. So enjoy meeting local people from all tribes of all languages, it is a great experience.
Electricity and Wifi connection
Talking about Kampala, electricity in most parts is quite stable and most of hotels have generators and access to Wifi. The power outage comes mainly during the rain. It is better to have power bank to charge your phone, and some extra source of the light and extra battery for your camera.
The further from Kampala, the bigger challenge with power. It is solved with the help of generators or solar energy, which means there is only power at certain times of the day and electricity plugs are limited (and British type of sockets). Wifi is bit challenging outside of Kampala. It is usually very slow or doesn´t work at all. The best way is to buy a sim card and pay for data.